Rushville Republican


May 27, 2014

Integrated mental and physical health is vital for Hoosiers

Each May, we celebrate Mental Health Month, an annual observation dedicated to raise awareness of mental health and addiction disorders as well as the effective treatments that are available. This year, the theme of Mental Health Month is “Mind Your Health,” a reminder for Hoosiers that has never been more important. We tend to think of minding our physical and mental healthcare as separate things, but to be truly healthy, we must begin to consider them equally.

Research shows that adults with serious mental illness die 25 years earlier than those without a mental health diagnosis, largely due to preventable and treatable physical health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.

The data showing connections between mental and physical health are staggering. Depression has been linked to higher incidents of chronic pain and diabetes. Stress has been shown to be a stronger predictor of heart disease than high cholesterol, cigarette smoking or obesity. Diagnosable mental health conditions cause more disability each year than chronic diseases like arthritis.

According to the American Hospital Association, 68 percent of adults with mental health conditions have a physical medical condition that could benefit from treatment or monitoring, and 29 percent of adults with medical conditions have co-occurring mental health disorders that they may not realize they have.

Despite all of the evidence demonstrating the importance of integrating our mental and physical healthcare, the mental and physical health systems in America have historically operated separately, been challenging for people to navigate, and had little coordination.

Integrated care is the healthcare model of the future and essential to the overall wellbeing of people across our state.

Centerstone is leading the way in developing integrated healthcare programs in Indiana and pursuing a new healthcare delivery system that is comprehensive, patient-centered and able to improve the quality, experience, effectiveness and accessibility of vital medical services. Our new treatment model emulates a “healthcare home” that wraps services around its clients and results in a “one stop shop” for healthcare services. As Centerstone introduces this model, our locations will see expanded treatment options including primary care, pharmacy services, case management, therapy and psychiatry. This will help eliminate common barriers to care such as limited access to transportation and challenges in health system navigation.

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